A guide to spending Ramadan 2018 in Cape Town
Ramadan is one of the most important annual observances of the year. Here is a guide to help you decide where to stay, what to do, where to pray, and how to stay up to date.
When is Ramadan?
Ramadan 2018 will begin in the evening of Tuesday, 15 May, and end in the evening of Thursday, 14 June. The dates may vary according to the moon sighting on Monday, 14 May. There is a uniquely South African tradition where maankykers (Afrikaans for “moon watchers”) gather in spots around the city to wait for the sighting of the moon. You can join in at Signal Hill, Three Anchor Bay, or most other sites that have a good view of the night sky. If you use Twitter, follow #MaanKykers for updates. Another good option is to tune into Radio786 for accurate and up-to-date information, and to make sure you don’t miss the announcement.
Mosques, and Prayer Rooms
With a large number of mosques found across the length and breadth of Cape Town the choice is wide. The two oldest Mosques in Cape Town are the Auwal Mosque, built in 1794, and the Palm Tree Mosque, established in 1807.
The city offers prayer rooms in major centres—including the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk. You’ll also find prayer rooms at Cape Town International Airport and the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The Athlone Mosque in Gatesville draws big crowds for Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power), and is one of the best places to join the prayer in town.
There are many faith-friendly accommodation options in Cape Town. Lodge 36 on Shaanti in Gatesville offers both bed & breakfast as well as self-catering options. The Crescent in Pinelands offers luxury in private and double rooms as well as executive suites—perfect for both leisure and business travel. If you are looking for accommodation in the city centre, a popular hotel is The Hilton Cape Town City Centre , which has a prayer room and certified Halal restaurants.
Celebratory feasts are entrenched in the Cape Town food culture, and the “Cape Malay” cuisine is as popular with Muslim visitors as it is with all tourists. Some of the top certified halal restaurants include 126 Cape Kitchen and Cafe and Saray Restaurant.
Clifton Beach is also a really popular picnic spot for breaking your fast, if you prefer to provide your own food. It’s an amazing spiritual experience to pray and break your fast on this incredible beach, with stunning views of the ocean and sunset. Bring along a Salah/Prayer Mat, your food, cups, and plates, and perhaps some candles.
Visit holy sites
There are also a number of Kramats, known collectively as the Circle of Saints or the Ring of Kramats, that can be found around the city. They run from Signal Hill to Faure, just outside Somerset West, where the most famous of Cape Town’s Kramats can be found—the shrine of Sheikh Yusuf, considered the father of Islam in the Cape. The Cape Mazaar Society are custodians of the Western Cape Kramats and offers Kramat Tours tailored to suit your Cape Town itinerary.
Stay up to date
Your best way to stay in the loop and make sure you’re getting accurate information is to tune into Radio786.